Beneficials on farmland: identification and management guidelines (HGCA Summer 2008)

Lacewings (Neuroptera)

There are about 60 species in Britain.

Small, medium and large soft bodied insects, generally green or brown. When at rest they have two similar delicate pairs of wings held roof-wise over the body. Wings are characterised by a network of veins. They have pronounced compound eyes and long, slender antennae. Larvae overwinter in leaf litter.

Green lacewings, the most common, are often found in houses, having been attracted by lights.

Adults have biting mouthparts but rarely seem to feed. Larvae are important predators of aphids.

Pearly green lacewing

  • Adult is 12–16mm long
  • Black eyes, brown antennae, fine green veins in wings
  • Egg borne on fine thread fixed to a leaf
  • Larva 7–10mm long, tapering at each end with small head with obvious pincers which act as sucking mouthparts
  • Pupa is white spherical cocoon

Larvae can be confused with ladybird larvae

Pearly green lacewing (Chrysopa perla)

Larva of pearly green lacewing

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